Category Archives: Sports

Anti-doping report: Riis knew about drugs on cycling team


What a shame that professional cycling is such a tainted sport. My disillusion with the sport began when my favorite rider, Jan Ullrich, tested positive for doping. At that point I knew that Lance Armstrong was also doping, although it was years before the story got out. Now, a decade later, and still there are stories of rampant doping within the sport. TGO

Refer to story below. Source: Associated Press

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — A report by Denmark’s anti-doping agency says Bjarne Riis chose to ignore drug-taking by riders on the former Team CSC.

Michael Ask, head of Anti-Doping Denmark, says Riis, then manager of the team, “failed to intervene,” and “it is totally unacceptable.”

Senior Team CSC members Johnny Weltz and Alex Pedersen also were aware of the practices, according to the 97-page report published on Tuesday. It was based on 50 interviews with present and former riders, aides, and officials, including disgraced Danish rider Michael Rasmussen.

Rasmussen was leading the 2007 Tour de France when he was sacked by his team for lying about his whereabouts when he missed pre-race doping tests. In 2013, he admitted he doped for more than a decade.

Riis revealed in 2007 that he used blood-boosting EPO to win the Tour in 1996. He later managed CSC, which eventually became Team Tinkoff-Saxo.

The report said Riis gave the telephone number of Spanish doctor Eufemiano Fuentes to Tyler Hamilton, telling the American rider, “Fuentes is the best in the business, with blood doping he is the doctor to go to.”

Andi-Doping Denmark said it did not interview Fuentes, who was convicted in 2013 of endangering public health in the Operation Puerto doping case but received a suspended sentence.

Rasmussen, who was interviewed for two days in January 2013, said he “experienced a widespread use of banned cortisone” on Team CSC with the acceptance of its leaders and doctors. He said teammate Hamilton also received cortisone.

Another Danish rider, Nicki Sorensen, who has become Tinkoff-Saxo’s sport director, admitted to doping, according to the report.

The report said the interviews were conducted by telephone or email with people involved in cycling since 1998.

Floyd Mayweather beats Manny Pacquiao by unanimous decision


This fight was a joke, as all these hyped-up fights are. I saw the entire thing from the first bell and all that Mayweather did was retreat. Pacquiao was without question the aggressor, and he landed some good punches. How Mayweather won by unanimous decision is beyond me. And mind you, I really didn’t care who won (I just wanted to see a good fight) so it isn’t as if I’m biased.

Boxing is doomed. These guaranteed purses have destroyed the sport. TGO

Refer to story below. Source: Yahoo Sports

Pacquiao of the Philippines fights Mayweather, Jr. of the U.S. in the seventh round during their welterweight title fight in Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS – The identity of the best fighter of this generation was never really in doubt.

Oh, some wanted to contest Floyd Mayweather’s position as the best boxer of his time and made points of varying strength about the quality of his opposition, the timing of some of his bigger fights and what was perceived as an unwillingness to engage.

Mayweather, though, erased whatever little doubt that remained with an unquestionable victory over Manny Pacquiao on Saturday at the MGM Grand Garden in a match which was as much about the incredible sums of money it generated as it was about the talent of the fighters.

Judge Dave Moretti had it 10 rounds to two, or 118-110 for Mayweather. Judges Glenn Feldman and Burt Clements each saw it 116-112, giving Mayweather eight of the 12 rounds. Yahoo Sports had it 115-113 for Mayweather.

“He’s a tough competitor,” Mayweather said of his vanquished foe.

Two months after his 38th birthday, Mayweather turned back the man whom fans have clamored for him to fight for more than five years.

The crowd pulled passionately for the Filipino superstar, who rose from abject poverty to become a politician, a musician and one of the best boxers in the world. Every time he landed, they roared. His best shot came in the fourth when he rocked Mayweather, but he had trouble getting past the jab or penetrating Mayweather’s defense.

On this night, though, he was no match for Mayweather, who improved his record to 48-0 with perhaps the most significant victory of his professional career.

“I thought I caught him many more times than he caught me,” Pacquiao said. “I was never hurt. I was very surprised by the scores. I thought I hit him much more than he hit me.”

With one fight remaining on the contract he signed with CBS/Showtime in early 2013, Mayweather has the opportunity to match the 49-0 record of former heavyweight champion Rocky Marciano. He said he’d retire after a fight in September.

On Saturday, facing the rival he’d been accused for years of ducking, Mayweather showed his class by cleanly outboxing Pacquiao and winning a unanimous decision. The reach advantage was clear between them and Mayweather popped Pacquiao repeatedly with his jab.

He did it the way he has for the past 19 years, using speed, quickness, impeccable timing, punching accuracy and most of all an incredible ring awareness to throttle his smaller rival.

Pacquiao landed just 81 of 429 punches, a puny 18.9 percent and around the average connect percentage against Mayweather. Mayweather landed nearly twice as many shots, connecting at 34 percent while landing 148 of 435.

There has always been controversy swirling around Mayweather and the days ahead of the Pacquiao fight were no exception. Because of the nature of the match, the interest in the fight was far great and so, too, was the media scrutiny.

His history of domestic violence, which he’d hoped would have been overlooked after his 2012 release from the Clark County, Nev., Detention Center, became a theme of much of the pre-fight coverage.

There were groups protesting outside the arena both on Friday after the weigh-in and on Saturday before the bout. A dispute arose early Saturday when two reporters, Rachel Nichols of CNN and Michelle Beadle of ESPN and HBO, tweeted that they were denied credentials. Both women have covered the domestic violence angle aggressively. Promoters vehemently denied that allegation.

But Mayweather, as he always has been in the boxing ring, was implacable. If any of it weighed on him, it was impossible to tell by looking at him and even more difficult to discern by watching him box.

And so, this era will officially and forever be “The Mayweather Era” – one he dominated not so much with power and knockouts but rather with defensive excellence and marketing brilliance.

He began his career as a highly touted bronze medal winner from the 1996 U.S. Olympic team known as “Pretty Boy” Floyd. He ended it as the trash-talking, bejeweled multi-millionaire who set a new standard for how athletes should handle their careers.

He’s outraged fans, particularly the old-timers, by calling himself “The Best Ever.” And while that’s a gross overstatement and ignoring the greatness of Sugar Ray Robinson and a number of other fighters, a large part of it is marketing shtick to call attention to himself.

But while there is a debate about where he deserves to rank on the all-time list – a panel commissioned by Yahoo Sports ranked him 19th last week, before the fight – there is no doubt that he is the best of his time.

And at the end of the day, that is all that can be asked for a boxer.

So maybe Mayweather is TBE: Just make it The Best of the Era and we can all live with that.

‘Fight of the century’ ready to rumble


Hopefully this fight won’t be a dud as many of the hyped-up boxing matches have turned out to be over the years.

Personally, I hope Pacquiao wins. Mayweather seems to be too much of a thug to me. Although I’m sure the Filipino is no saint either. TGO

Refer to story below. Source: Associated Press

AFP

Fight

Years of debate and months of hype will reach a climax Saturday when Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather step into the ring in Las Vegas for the most eagerly anticipated boxing match in recent memory.

The long-awaited bout, which has been more than five years in the making, has transcended the traditional boxing scene, catapulting the sport back into the public consciousness and promising to rewrite the record books as the most lucrative fight of all time.

“Sin City” was buzzing ahead of the welterweight world title showdown and the money men were rubbing their hands: total revenue for the bout could reach an eye-watering $400 million, fueled by as many as three million pay-per-view purchases.

The breathtaking figures — a possible $200 million payday for the unbeaten American and an estimated $100 million bonanza for Philippine icon Pacquiao — have intensified the spotlight on a fight between two of the greatest pugilists of their generation.

As a taster for the main event at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, a raucous crowd of 11,500 turned out for Friday’s weigh-in, as Pacquiao and Mayweather went nose-to-nose.

The few tickets that did go on sale for the bout itself were reportedly snapped up in one minute, with A-listers and high-rollers making up the vast majority of a 16,800 sell-out crowd, making the fight more akin to a nightout at the Oscars than two men attempting to pound the other to the canvas.

In Las Vegas, tourism officials said occupancy for the city’s 150,000 hotel rooms would approach 100 percent. Casinos were advertising red-carpet events hosted by hip-hop stars such as Puff Daddy and Snoop Dogg and pop star Justin Bieber — a Mayweather fan and friend.

– Clash of styles –

And then there is the small issue of the fight itself, which even if it doesn’t measure up to Mayweather’s claim of the “biggest fight in boxing history,” is an intriguing clash of styles between men of contrasting personalities.

Pacquiao, 36, a two-term congressman with a music and film career, credits the grace of God for lifting him from poverty in his youth and later guiding him away from a life of excess that his ring success made possible.

Streets will be empty on fight night — Sunday morning in the Philippines — as the nation of 100 million cheers its “National Fist.” Guns often fall silent in the war-torn south of the country when the beloved Pacquiao is in action.

The brash Mayweather touts his status as a money-making machine and comes from a troubled past that includes jail time for one of a string of domestic violence incidents.

Mayweather, 47-0 with 26 knockouts, is a 2-1 favorite to add Pacquiao’s World Boxing Organization world title to his own World Boxing Association and World Boxing Council belts.

Public opinion is with Pacquiao; boxing experts say Mayweather to triumph, most likely by 12-round decision.

– ‘I’m ready’ –

Pacquiao, who weighed in a pound lighter, will be in the unenviable position of the smaller fighter, taking more of the risks.

The aggressive southpaw, who owns a record of 57-5-2 with 38 knockouts, says he is content in his underdog role.

A winner of world titles in an unprecedented eight weight divisions, Pacquiao noted that he’s beaten plenty of big foes, among them Oscar De La Hoya in 2008.

“No one thought I could beat Oscar, and I was the underdog then,” said Pacquiao, who moved up 12 pounds in weight to batter the “Golden Boy” in a fight that sent him into retirement. “Maybe it’s good for me.”

Once each had stepped off the scale on Friday, Mayweather and Pacquiao came eye-to-eye for a stare down — just their third face-to-face meeting since the bout was announced in February.

Their next will come Saturday night, when they step into the ring.

“I’ve dedicated myself to the sport of boxing for more than 20 years,” Mayweather said. “I’m ready.”

Super Bowl Sunday kicks off with scandal and spectacle


Super Bowl Sunday is finally here! On the surface this appears to be a great game, and hopefully it will be. On the other hand, I would really like New England to destroy Seattle. Brady deserves to get his fourth ring, and it might be now or never… We will know the results in about ten hours. TGO

Refer to story below. Source: Associated Press

AFP

Katy Perry

Glendale (United States) (AFP) – The Super Bowl kicks off Sunday as American football seeks to put a scandal-plagued season behind it, with this year’s spectacle featuring a Katy Perry concert, ultra-expensive commercials and a compelling clash between Seattle and New England.

The extravaganza is expected to draw a whopping 115 million viewers — or about one in three Americans — and amounts to an unofficial holiday in the United States, where even those with no interest in the sport gather at countless Super Bowl parties.

This year’s championship comes with the National Football League battling back from a season of turmoil, accused of complacency and even conspiracy in its handling of issues ranging from domestic violence to concussion dangers.

The latest controversy — accusations that the New England Patriots intentionally deflated footballs — has dominated news coverage in the days leading up to the game.

Controversy aside, Sunday is a chance for both teams to cement a place in Super Bowl lore with a victory.

Reigning champions Seattle Seahawks hope to become the first team to win back-to-back Super Bowls since the Patriots did so a decade ago, while New England is looking to be the sixth team to win four or more titles — a list led by Pittsburgh with six.

It is a dazzling matchup of old guard versus new, as veteran Patriots quarterback Tom Brady takes on 26-year-old Seattle signal-caller Russell Wilson. A clash of coaching styles will also be on display in cool-tempered Bill Belichick and enthusiastic Pete Carroll.

Frenzied fans partied Saturday night around Phoenix and near the University of Phoenix Stadium in suburban Glendale, Arizona, where the game is scheduled to kick off at 4:30 pm (23:30 GMT).

– Something for everyone –

Some novice football fans will be tuning in mostly for the much-anticipated halftime show, which this year features pop princess Katy Perry and rocker Lenny Kravitz.

Perry, known for her flamboyant costumes and hits like “Firework,” “California Gurls” and “Dark Horse,” hinted her performance could feature a surprise guest, but promised clean, family-friendly fun.

Past shows have been marred by infamous nipple-baring “wardrobe malfunctions” or crude gestures that provoked ire from some of the massive television audience.

Over nachos, chili and beer, viewers will also see much-buzzed about commercials, some of the most expensive air time on the market, with this year’s line-up featuring spots from Toyota, Budweiser and Victoria’s Secret.

More than 70 advertisers are paying a reported $4.5 million for 30 seconds of air time during Sunday’s football classic.

– Scandal trails Pats –

The Patriots will take the field trailing a whiff of scandal, with the league still investigating whether they purposely deflated footballs to gain an advantage in their playoff triumph over Indianapolis on January 18.

For critics, “Deflategate” is further proof that Belichick’s glittering post-season resume has been built on the back of rules bent to breaking point.

But even those put off by Belichick’s gruff demeanor find it hard to argue with his five Super Bowl rings — two as the defensive coordinator for the New York Giants and three as head coach of the Patriots.

Carroll, on the surface, is the warm and fuzzy opposite of reserved Belichick, but has produced Seahawks teams that even the Patriots coach admires for their “relentlessness.”

Now, Carroll’s Seahawks will try to usurp the Patriots’ throne as the league’s dominant team, gained with Super Bowl titles in 2002, 2004 and 2005.

Brady can join his boyhood idol Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw as the only quarterbacks with four Super Bowl wins.

The legacy of 37-year-old Brady is secure no matter what the outcome on Sunday, with a league-leading 49 touchdowns and 7,017 passing yards in the post-season.

His excellence has belied his unheralded entrance into the league in 2000, when New England took him in the sixth round of the entry draft, 199th overall.

– Outstripping expectations –

Wilson, Brady’s opposite number in Seattle, has also outstripped expectations since being drafted in the third round in 2012.

Considered by many NFL experts too small at 5-foot-11 (1.80 meters) to play the position effectively, Wilson outshone Denver’s future Hall-of-Famer Peyton Manning in last year’s Super Bowl.

To be sure, Wilson was aided then, as he will be now, by the Seahawks’ punishing defense, which has proven capable of dismantling the league’s finest attacks.

Nevertheless, the Seahawks still bring the fire of underdogs, even a Super Bowl triumph failing to erase the sting of being overlooked on draft day.

“It’s not necessarily proving people wrong,” said Doug Baldwin, who, like fellow Seahawks receiver Jermaine Kearse, was undrafted.

“It’s more … proving ourselves right.”

Former NFL Official Highlights The Biggest Problem With The Controversial Dez Bryant Reversal


Mike Pereira is an imbecile. People like him get to high positions in their respective fields because they’re politicians, and because of who they know, not because of their knowledge or abilities. To try to justify the reversal of the Dez Bryant CATCH is pathetic.

By the way, I’m so sick of this world of political correctness we live in, where grown men are afraid to express themselves and instead shrivel up and say “the right things.” Grow a pair Jason Garrett, tell the media what you really feel, which is “we were robbed,” instead of being so passive.

In the end, Dallas was outplayed by Green Bay. But to have the game end the way it did was a travesty. TGO

Refer to story below. Source: Yahoo Sports

Business Insider

Dez

What was an incredible playoff game between the Green Bay Packers and the Dallas Cowboys, will forever be remembered for the catch by Dez Bryant that was reversed.

Like many watching the game at the time, I was convinced that it was a great catch, but by the letter of the law, it should have been overturned because he did not control the ball going to the ground.

After the game, Mike Pereira, a former NFL official and the former vice president of officiating for the NFL, explained on FOX why the reversal was correct. But after listening to his explanation I am actually less convinced that the right call was made.

The issue comes with whether or not Bryant made “a football move” before losing control. If Bryant does make a football move, it is a catch. One example of a football move is stretching the ball towards the end zone, which it appears that Bryant did.

However, according to Pereira, it was not enough of a stretch.

“If you’re going to the ground, you have to prove that you have the ball long enough to perform an act common to the game and do so,” said Pereira. “And part of that is stretching all the way out and to me even though he moved the ball a little bit forward, they are not going to consider that a football act.”

And herein lies the problem.

Pereira admits Bryant stretches the ball towards the end zone, but apparently it wasn’t enough. So, now the official must determine the degree of stretching and reaching by the receiver as if they don’t have enough to worry about.

It would seem that the player either reaches with the ball or he doesn’t and Bryant pretty clearly tried to stretch the ball forward only being limited in actual distance by his shoulder pads.

After the game, Bryant was just as confused as anyone, saying he reached for the goal line and didn’t understand why it was overturned.

The NFL has one problem when something most observers agree is a great catch is being overturned on a technicality. They have another problem entirely when they are asking officials to judge degrees of stretching.

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